This excellent compilation brings together a selection of the best late 1970s rock, punk and reggae from the UK. Disc One contains classics like In The City by The Jam, White Riot by The Clash, Hong Kong Garden by Siouxsie And The Banshees, Blank Generation by Richard Hell, Oh Bondage by X-Ray Spex, Something Better Change by The Stranglers and Teenage Kicks by The Undertones.
Reggae is represented by Junior Murvin’s lilting protest song Police And Thieves, Ku Klux Klan by Steelpulse and War Ina Babylon by Max Romeo. The quirky Typical Girls by The Slits has a skittering reggae rhythm but should properly be called post-punk, and then there’s the brilliant 1960s track White Light/White Heat by The Velvet Underground that is appropriately included here since the Velvets exercised such a heavy influence upon the music of the time.
Disc Two has a similar mix of rock, reggae and pop tracks. My favourites include Elvis Costello’s Watching The Detectives and the Joe Jackson song (both reggaefied rock), The quirky Rock Lobster by the B-52s, So it Goes - a great pop song by Nick Lowe and Wreckless Eric’s charming Whole Wide World. The other great reggae tracks here are Warrior Charge by Aswad and Forces Of Victory by Linton Kwesi Johnson. Jilted John contributes his charming eponymous song and The Cure adds some atmospheric sounds with Boys Don’t Cry, whilst the Squeeze, Graham Parker and Ultravox songs also remain memorable.
All the contributing artists played a part in the musical history of the times The New York Dolls, Jonathan Richman, The Ramones, Ian Dury, Sham 69, The Damned, Iggy Pop and The Dickies also deserve a mention. The music has aged remarkably well and there is still that punky sense of urgency that I remember so well from my youth. Teenage Kicks offers a varied and rewarding listening experience.